Apply for Technology and Democracy Fellowship by 4/15

As NCDD reflects on the ways in which technology can support face to face D&D in today’s Tech Tuesday, we wanted to share this fellowship opportunity which supports the technological work that enhances democratic governance. [By the way, you can still join the free Tech Tuesday here!] Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, an NCDD member, recently announced they are offering an unpaid, non-resident Technology and Democracy Fellowship; to create space for participants to build relationships, develop their work or research, and have a unique opportunity to dig into the bigger questions behind their practice. The fellowship deadline is April 15th, so apply now if you are interested! Learn more about the details of the fellowship in the post below or find the original here.

Technology and Democracy Fellowship

Applications are now open for 2018 Fellowships. Applications can be found here

The Technology and Democracy Fellowship is part of an Ash Center initiative to explore technology’s role in improving democratic governance—with a focus on connecting to practice and on helping Harvard Kennedy School students develop crucial technology skills.

Over the course of the fellowship, participants design, develop, or refine a substantive project that is salient to their field. This project could entail research, writing, and developing strategy relating to each fellow’s work, or could take the form of a new platform, service, app, or idea.

Technology and Democracy Fellows form a virtual community through which they share ideas and resources, pose questions, offer feedback, and help one another with solving challenges in their projects or other work. The Kennedy School serves as a unique space for these technologists to take a step back from the day-to-day minutia working in the world of practice to discuss, research, and write about the bigger questions their work addresses.

Fellows also help students, staff, faculty, and other members of the HKS community to develop their understanding of major concepts and to build skills related to technology and governance. This knowledge sharing is primarily delivered through a hands-on, skill-building workshop that each fellow designs and leads once during the year on a topic of interest to the fellow (see past workshops here).  Fellows can also develop personal relationships with faculty, staff, and fellows at HKS in the form of consultation and mentoring, event/speaking opportunities, and more.

The Technology and Democracy Fellowship is an unpaid, non-resident fellowship, so Fellows are not expected to reside or work locally. We invite Technology and Democracy Fellows to Cambridge at least twice during the course of the fellowship year (at the Ash Center’s expense) to give workshops, present their work, and meet with members of the HKS community.

The Fellowship welcomes mid-career practitioners with an interest in leveraging technology to improve democratic governance. Each cohort of fellows includes technologists with an interest or background in democratic politics and governance or public and civic leaders with technology expertise.

How to Apply
Applications are now open. Please apply here.  The deadline for completed applications to be submitted is April 15, 2018. For questions, please contact Teresa Acuña at

Current Technology and Democracy Fellows
The 2017-18 Technology and Democracy Fellows are below.

Fatima Alam, Researcher on Trust and Safety at Google

Tiffani Ashley Bell, Founder and Executive Director of The Human Utility

Jeff Maher, Software Engineer for CivicActions

Marina Martin, Public Interest Technology Fellow at the New America Foundation

Aaron Ogle, Director of Product for the OpenGov Foundation

Mjumbe Poe, Co-founder and CTO of FixList

You can find the original version of this article on the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation’s site at

Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference Recap

Last week, NCDD Managing Director Courtney Breese and I had the pleasure of attending the Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference in the Phoenix area. The conference was hosted by NCDD member organizations – the Participatory Budgeting Project and the Jefferson Center, as well as, the Center for the Future of Arizona, the Katal Center, the Participatory Governance Initiative at Arizona State University, Phoenix Union High School District, and the Policy Jury Group.

It was three exhilarating days of mixing and mingling and learning with folks from across the world about the innovative practices going on to better engage our communities and improve participatory democracy. Huge shout out to PBP and all the co-hosts for such a great event, we heard from several people that this was one of the most engaging conferences they had attended.

NCDD was well represented at the conference with pre-conference trainings and several folks from the network who presented sessions:

    • Courtney and I presented a session with two fellow NCDD members, Cassie Hemphill (of the IAP2 Federation and University of Montana) and Annie Rappeport (of the University of Maryland), on Using art to explore participatory democracy work and connections.
    • There were two pre-conference trainings by NCDD member orgs: One on participatory budgeting (PB) hosted by the Participatory Budgeting Project, and another training on citizen juries, citizen assemblies, and sortition hosted by the Jefferson Center and the Policy Jury Group.
    • Our upcoming Tech Tuesday speaker, David Fridley of Synaccord, presented the session, Up for deliberation using digital tools, with Amy Lee of Kettering, John Richardson of Ethelo, and several others. [Learn more about Synaccord at our free Tech Tuesday webinar next week on March 20th – register here]
    • Martha McCoy of Everday Democracy held a session on Advancing Racial Equity in Government Planning and Participatory Democracy with Sarita Turner of PolicyLink and John Dobard of the Advancement Project.
    • Matt Leighninger of Public Agenda did a session with Patrick Scully of Participedia and Mark Warren from the University of British Columbia on What can we gain from better documentation of participatory democracy? And how can we do it together?
    • Jim Rough from the Center for Wise Democracy had a session with several others on Dealing with Global Democratic decline: What now?
    • The Participatory Budgeting Project held numerous sessions (too many to list here!) but you can check out the full conference schedule by clicking here.

We had an NCDD meet up on Friday night in Tempe, where we had a great opportunity to connect with folks in our network and those new to NCDD – all of whom are passionate about participatory democracy. It was nice to be able to have a chance to sit down over drinks, get to know each other better, and learn about the work going on in each of our lives.

At the conference, several things stood out:

It was incredible to be able to see the participatory budgeting process going on at Central High School in Phoenix and hear from the students, staff, and administrators themselves about the impact of PB in their school and on the psyche of the student body. This was year two for this PB process and the effort has grown to include all Phoenix high schools. (By the way, have you heard the incredible news that PB will soon be implemented in all NYC high schools – which is over 400 schools! Learn more here about this phenomenal accomplishment.)

It was so rewarding to be in attendance with so many folks from across the world, each bringing exciting experiences of participatory democracy and how to transform the way that people engage. Below are some examples shared at IPDConf and by no means is an extensive list of the incredible individuals in attendance and work being done!

  • Mayor José Ribeiro shared the exciting work going on in Valongo, Portugal to empower community members to be more participatory and some of the democratic policy initiatives that have been implemented in the area. “The job of perfecting democracy is a never-ending job” – Mayor Ribeiro
  • Courtney and I had the pleasure of befriending, Antonio Zavala of Participando por México and we had an opportunity to learn more about his work on participatory budgeting in México City.
  • Hsin-I Lin of Taiwan Reach-Out Association for Democracy shared about her organization’s work bridging intergenerational connections and the participatory budgeting going on in Taiwan.
  • During lunch on the first day, Courtney and I got to talk with Suzanne van der Eerden and Petra Ramakers from the Netherlands and learn about their techniques to make participatory budgeting even more fun with gamification.
  • Willice Onyango who is leading the Coalition for Kenya Youth Manifesto presented the session on Barriers to participatory governance and how we can contribute to international efforts to move the needle, with presenters Carrie O’Neil of Mercy Corps and Malin Svanberg.

The closing panel was an energizing close-out to a powerful conference, featuring a conversation on each of the panelists’ visions for the Future of Democracy led by incoming Co-Executive Director of the Participatory Budgeting Project, Shari Davis, with Sarita Turner of Policy Link, Carlos Menchaca the NYC Council Member for District 38, Ashley Trim of the Davenport Institute, and Josh Lerner, fellow PBP Co-Executive Director. Check out the hashtag #IPDConf2018 on Twitter for more photos, quotes, and participant experiences!

Participatory Budgeting Coming to NYC High Schools

Very exciting news from NCDD member org – the Participatory Budgeting Project, Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that participatory budgeting will soon be happening in all NYC public high schools. With over 400 high schools, this is bringing PB to schools in a way that sets a powerful precedent for youth engagement and participation in democracy. Friendly reminder about the Innovations in Participatory Democracy conference happening next week and we encourage folks in the NCDD network to attend!

For those that will be at IPD, NCDD will be co-presenting a session on the first day which you can learn about in our blog post here and we also plan on having an NCDD meet up on Friday night – which we would love for you to join! You can read the PBP announcement below or find the original here.

BIG News for PB in Schools – and a BIG invitation!

Did you hear? Just this week Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of Participatory Budgeting (PB) in all public high schools in New York City!

That’s over 400 schools in total!

In his State of the City address, Mayor de Blasio emphasized:

“We’ve got to prove to our young people that they’ve got the power to change the world around them. When people feel empowered they participate. When they can see the impact they’re making they come back for more. So starting next school year public school students will learn how to stay civically engaged and to fight for the future they believe in with our Civics for All initiative.”

At the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP), we’re fighting for this future alongside young leaders like Jacinta Ojevwe and Vanessa Gonzalez – two of our youth scholarship recipients for the Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference.

To continue growing this work, we’re hosting many conference sessionson how to engage, support, and empower youth leadership in reimagining democracy. I’m especially excited to open our conference at Phoenix’s Central High School during their PB vote – where we’ll hear from students and teachers and see nearly 3,000 students cast their ballots on how to spend part of the school district budget.

We’re eager to continue scaling and deepening the impacts of PB because, as Mayor de Blasio said:

“We know that when students feel that opportunity to make a difference it will be the beginning of a long lifetime of participation.”

Will you join us in empowering even more young leaders, and celebrating with them at our Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?

For a preview of the PB vote in Phoenix, see (and share!) our PB in Schools Video.

Hope to see you there!

You can find the original version of this PBP blog post at

Winter Updates from AASCU’s American Democracy Project

For those working with civic engagement and higher ed, we wanted to share these recent updates from AASCU’s the American Democracy Project about several exciting opportunities! Coming up this Wednesday, February 28th from 1-2pm Eastern, is a free webinar on assessing civic competency and engagement, and how these efforts translate to student learning. Second, there are three different national ADP awards nominations that are now open and are due by March 30. Finally, check out the upcoming 2018 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting (#CLDE18) on June 6-9, hosted by the American Democracy Project (ADP), The Democracy Commitment (TDC), and the NASPA Lead Initiative. You can read the announcement below or find the original on ADP’s site here.

ADP Winter 2018 Updates & Announcements

With our recent effort to significantly increase our ADP programming, you might be interested in some of the upcoming ADP activities, including opportunities to get national recognition for deserving folks on your campuses.  Please pass along to those who might be interested as well.  Thank you in advance for your support

Free Webinar Featuring Assessment of Civic Competency and Engagement
Wednesday, February 28 | 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. EST
Register now

Walking our Talk: Converting Civic-Focused Mission Statements to Student Learning
Many higher education institutions include complex civic concepts as part of their missions, but how do we know if we are translating these lofty goals into student learning? Assessment is often viewed as a secondary or even bureaucratic institutional practice but done well it supports learning improvement processes that prioritize student development, organize institutional efforts, and direct change. This session will discuss recent ETS research initiatives focused on national trends in the assessment of civic competency and engagement as well as an institutional perspective on assessing and addressing these skills in students.

Presenters: Ross Markle, Senior Assessment Strategist for Higher Education, ETS; and Kara Owens, Special Assistant to the President for Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, Salisbury University (Md.)

Nominations for Three ADP National Civic Engagement Awards Due March 30, 2018

  • The William M. Plater Award for Leadership in Civic Engagement is given each year to an AASCU chief academic officer in recognition of his or her leadership in advancing the civic mission of the campus. Chief academic officers may be nominated by anyone. The president or chancellor must endorse the nomination. Nomination materials for the 2018 Plater Award must be submitted electronically by March 30, 2018. For information and cover sheet:
  • The John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement is presented annually to an emerging leader (e.g., early career faculty/staff) in the civic engagement field from an AASCU institution. Emerging Leaders may be nominated by anyone. Nomination materials for the 2018 Saltmarsh Award must be submitted electronically by March 30, 2018. For information and cover sheet:
  • The Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement is presented annually to a senior faculty member in the civic engagement field from an AASCU institution. Senior ADP faculty members may be nominated by anyone. The provost or chief academic officer must endorse the nomination. Nomination materials for the 2018 Burch Award must be submitted electronically by March 30, 2018. For information and cover sheet:

Participate in ADP’s National Conference: The 2018 Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting
Wednesday, June 6, 2018 to Saturday, June 9, 2018
Hyatt Regency Orange County • Anaheim, California

The American Democracy Project (ADP), The Democracy Commitment (TDC), and NASPA are committed to advancing the civic engagement movement in higher education. Join us in Anaheim, California for our annual conference which brings together faculty, student affairs professionals, senior campus administrators, students and community partners. Together we will ensure that students graduate from our colleges and universities–both public and private–prepared to be the informed, engaged citizens that our communities and our democracy need.

Learn more about ADP and how to be engaged during our ADP Organizing Meeting on Thursday, June 7 from 9 a.m. – Noon. Annual awards will be presented during this meeting.

For more information:
Register now for the best rates.

You can find the original version of this ADP blog post at:

NCDD at Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference

We are thrilled to let folks know that NCDD staff, Courtney Breese and I will be at the Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference, which is happening on March 8th – 10th in the Phoenix area. This conference will be a fantastic opportunity to learn about the top innovations in civic engagement and democracy, and to network with leaders in the field doing this powerful work.

We are especially excited to announce we will be presenting a session in collaboration with two fellow NCDD members: Cassandra Hemphill of the IAP2 Federation and adjunct faculty at Missoula College of the University of Montana, as well as, Annie Rappeport of the University of Maryland where she serves as a PhD Student and Research Assistant. In this interactive workshop, we will use art to explore participants’ individual connections to participatory democracy, what led us to our work on improving our democracy, and what each of us offer to the field. We’ll explore how we are connected in our communities and how we might connect with others to strengthen participatory democracy. If you are attending IPD, we hope you will join us for our session during Block 1 on Thursday, March 8th from 3-4:30pm.

While we are in town, we would love to meet up with NCDDers in the area (and those attending the conference)! We are working to identify a location that could accommodate a meetup on Friday night (March 9th) after the IPD events that evening. If you are in town on the 9th and would like to join us, send Courtney an email at courtney[at]ncdd[dot]org and we’ll keep you in the loop as we firm up our plans!

IPD is being hosted by NCDD member organizations – the Participatory Budgeting Project and the Jefferson Center, as well as, the Center for the Future of Arizona, the Katal Center, the Participatory Governance Initiative at Arizona State University, Phoenix Union High School District, and the Policy Jury Group. If you’ve never been to a conference hosted by PBP and these fine organizations, you are in for a special treat! Tickets go up February 28th – so make sure you get yours ASAP.

There are several pre-conference trainings planned for Wednesday, March 7th, like a training on participatory budgeting (PB) hosted by the Participatory Budgeting Project, or a training on citizen juries, citizen assemblies, sortition, and more hosted by the Jefferson Center and the Policy Jury Group. Click here to learn more and register for these pre-conference trainings, and to see the full IPD conference schedule.

Remember to keep an eye out for Courtney and I if you are attending the conference because we would love to see you!

Kettering Releases New Higher Education Exchange

We want to encourage our members in higher education to check out the newest version of the Higher Education Exchange, a free annual publication from NCDD member organization the Kettering Foundation. The Exchange explores important and timely themes around the public mission of colleges and universities and offers reflections from both domestic and international scholar-practitioners on how higher education can and must shift toward teaching deliberation and civic engagement. We highly recommend it. You can learn more about the 2017 edition in the Kettering announcement below or find the full downloadable version here.

Higher Education Exchange 2017: Deliberation as Public Judgment

The 2017 issue of the Higher Education Exchange (HEX) takes on the divisive political moment we find ourselves in and argues that civic work that tries to be apolitical, or stays within the comfort zone of higher education, will not help us to bridge the divides that threaten our democracy

What makes this moment so critical? Polarization is now more intractable than it has ever been before. While elected officials have always had their disagreements, research has confirmed partisanship in Washington has grown to new levels. Media polarization is also on the rise. Not only are we confronted with ongoing socioeconomic and geographical divides, but also social media further enables segmentation into bubbles of like-minded groups. While information has never been more accessible, the citizenry cannot even agree on what constitutes factual information, much less how to interpret its implications.

In addition to the usual gridlock, the discourse of “winners” and “losers” raises the stakes of politics. Each side fears that the other seeks power to impose its will, further increasing the sense of tension and mistrust. As politics comes to be seen exclusively as a competition for power, the outcomes have less claim to be regarded as the expression of a deliberative process that represents the common good.

As a public institution, higher education would seem to be ideally placed to build bridges across these political divides. However, higher education has construed its neutrality narrowly, attempting to steer clear of politics rather than actively bridge political divides. At least since the advent of the modern research university, higher education has focused largely on the production and transmission of expert knowledge, conceiving its democratic role as informing the public. Higher education institutions are thus built around an epistemology that separates “facts” from “values” and, understandably, the historical focus has been on the former rather than the latter. However, if our current dysfunctions have more to do with political divisions than informational deficits, the question becomes: what more expansive civic role is higher education capable of playing?

In recent years, higher education has begun to talk more actively about its civic role. As part of this civic renewal, the word deliberation has enjoyed a resurgence, and higher education has played a key role in nurturing a field of practice across professional domains now ostensibly devoted to deliberative democracy. But what deliberation means may be more varied and obscure than ever. Depending on their purposes and contexts, practices referred to under the rubric of deliberation may have various and even contradictory effects. Deliberation is used for strikingly different purposes, including civic education, conflict resolution, input into government policy and administration, and social justice, and sponsoring organizations make a variety of design choices to suit their purposes. Despite such differences, deliberation is also used to describe the varied practices and examples taking place.

As a research foundation committed to a particular understanding of deliberation, Kettering’s challenge is to be clear about what we mean when we use the term. This volume of HEX attempts to distill Kettering’s understanding of deliberation.

At least two important themes define Kettering’s approach. First, this approach to deliberation is political. It aims to address dysfunctions of our political system, particularly the polarization of our public discourse and resulting loss of confidence in institutions.

Second, at the center of our approach to deliberation is the exercise of the human faculty of judgment. That is, rather than technical or instrumental problems, we seek to apply deliberation primarily to the complex value questions that most divide our country. Because such questions cannot be answered objectively, no amount of technical knowledge can resolve them. While judgment lacks the certainty of scientific knowledge as well as the romantic appeal of a unanimous consensus, we think it is precisely the virtue that is needed to address the communicative dysfunctions of our current political climate.

As our public discourse becomes increasingly adversarial, higher education and other expert professions may be tempted to double down on “informing” the public with expert knowledge. Kettering’s research suggests that we are in need of something different, an ethos—a set of skills, norms, and habits for civic discourse. While higher education is in a position to help bridge our differences, its overwhelming tendency has been to prioritize technical knowledge at the expense of civic ethos. Proponents of deliberation may unwittingly compound the problem by confusing the two. For those who wish to bridge our divides, we hope this collection will help them return their focus to the human faculty of judgment and recover the political roots of deliberation.

We hope this edition of HEX sparks a lively conversation on these themes.

You can find the original announcement of this on Kettering’s site at

Submit Your #CLDE18 Program Proposals by Jan. 29th

For those of you passionate about advancing civic engagement in higher education, make sure you check out the 2018 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting (CLDE18) coming up June 6, 2018 in Orange County, California. Coordinated by the American Democracy Project (ADP), The Democracy Commitment (TDC), and the NASPA Lead Initiative; it’s sure to be a great networking and learning opportunity. Program proposals are currently being accepted until January 29, 2018 – submit yours ASAP! You can read the announcement below or find the original on ADP’s site here.

#CLDE18: Lend your voice to something bigger than yourself

An unprecedented chapter of America’s political history is upon us and it has never been more critical to nurture engagement with democracy in our students. It is as engaged citizens that we can put the values we proclaim on our campuses into action, and support those with less access, privilege, resources, and even basic rights, who are seeking a path to higher education.

The 2018 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting (CLDE18), being held June 6-9, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, in Anaheim, California, offers an opportunity for student affairs professionals, faculty, community partners, and students, to participate in discourse around the fundamentals of democracy and gain inspiration from our featured speakers to take back to your campus community. #CLDE18 will rejuvenate your passion for activating your students to be the change they want to see in the world.

The American Democracy Project (ADP), The Democracy Commitment (TDC), and the NASPA Lead Initiative are committed to advancing the civic engagement movement in higher education, and invite you to submit a program proposal to this unique and vital professional development event by Monday, January 29, 2018.

We urge you to be a part of something bigger than yourself by sharing your civic learning or democratic engagement theory, success, or best practice—or by joining us as a participant for this year’s convening of change.

Register by May 1, 2018 to get the best rates.

You can read the original version of this at ADP’s site at

Highlights from the December 2017 Kettering Newsletter

The holidays are in full swing and we wanted to boost the newsletter updates released this week from NCDD org member, the Kettering Foundation. They recently published two of their annual periodicals – Connections 2017 and Higher Education Exchange 2017, which we encourage you to check out. Over the last two years, Kettering has been working together with libraries, museums, and historical associations, on how these bodies can enrich their work by deeper engagement with their communities. Finally, we’d like to congratulate Sherry Magill on becoming Kettering’s newest addition to their board. There’s more to the newsletter that we didn’t share so make sure you sign up for their monthly updates by clicking here to stay up-to-date on all that Kettering is working on.

Kettering Foundation News & Notes – December 2017

We mark the end of 2017 with the publication of two of our annual periodicals–take a look and learn more about ongoing research. We wish everyone warm holidays, a rejuvenating break, and a happy and productive New Year.

Connections 2017: Letter from the Editors

The 2017 issue of Connections, edited by KF director of strategic initiatives Melinda Gilmore and KF program officer Randall Nielsen, focuses on key opportunities in democratic citizenship today. There are signs of renewed civic vitality in our communities, and this year’s issue of Connections highlights such stories. A note on Connections 2017 is now available on the Kettering blog. Read it here.

Exchanging Research with Libraries and Museums

Libraries and museums are, unsurprisingly, some of Kettering’s best partners in learning. Over the past two years, program officer Joni Doherty has led a number of related research exchanges bringing together museums, historical associations, and libraries to explore how they can enrich their work by building in fuller, more sophisticated ideas about citizenship and democratic practice. In 2017, several experiments within these exchanges culminated in exciting new initiatives.

Higher Education Exchange 2017

This year’s Higher Education Exchange takes on the divisive political moment we find ourselves in and argues that civic work that tries to be apolitical, or that stays within the comfort zone of higher education, will not help us bridge the divides that threaten our democracy. This year’s volume includes contributions from Jane Mansbridge, Ronald Beiner, Dan Yankelovich, Noëlle McAfee, David McIvor, Lori Britt, Maura Casey, Harry Boyte, and, of course, both Kettering president David Mathews and HEX editor and program officer Derek Barker. Download a copy.

Sherry Magill Elected to Kettering Board

Sherry Magill, a national leader in philanthropy and higher education, has been elected a member of the board of directors of the Kettering Foundation. Magill serves as president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, a private grantmaking foundation located in Jacksonville, Florida.

“Sherry Magill’s distinguished career in philanthropy and higher education connects with the foundation’s research into the link between the work of citizens and these important institutions,” said Kettering president David Mathews. “Her experience, expertise, and deep understanding of the role of higher education and philanthropy will be an invaluable resource that will inform many areas of the foundation’s work.”

Prior to joining the fund’s staff in 1991 as a program officer for education, Magill served as vice president and deputy to the president of Washington College, where she taught courses in American studies and on the American South.

She holds a BA and an MA from the University of Alabama and a doctorate in American studies from Syracuse University. She has served as a senior moderator for the Aspen Institute and is the founding executive director of the Wye Faculty Seminar, a nationally recognized enrichment program for professors teaching in the nation’s small colleges.

Magill has served as chair of the Council on Foundations board, State of Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission, and the P.A.C.E. Center for Women board and is past president of the Jacksonville Women’s Network board. She is a founding member and past chair of the Florida Philanthropic Network and is a member of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation-Jacksonville (LISC) advisory committee.

As always, if you have news you would like to share, please get in touch. We’re especially interested in stories of how you apply ideas and insights shared with you at Kettering.

Winner Announced for Leadership in Democracy Award

NCDD member org, Everyday Democracy recently announced the winner of the first ever Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award. Please join us in congratulating Generation Justice of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s premier youth media project focused on uplifting underrepresented voices through social justice and media. In addition to the other honorees, we’d like to congratulate the West Virginia Center for Civic Life led by NCDD board member, Betty Knighton, for being among the top finalists. We encourage you to read the announcement below or on Everyday Democracy’s blog here.

Generation Justice is Announced the Winner of the First Annual Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award

EvDem LogoFor more than 25 years, Everyday Democracy has worked with communities across the country to foster a healthy and vibrant democracy – characterized by strong relationships across divides, leadership development, including the voices of all people, and understanding and addressing structural racism.

This year, Everyday Democracy launched the Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award, and out of 80 nominations, Generation Justice, of Albuquerque, New Mexico was selected as the winner, and recipient of the $10,000 award to help further its mission and vision.

Generation Justice’s vision is to raise underrepresented voices, to heal from internalized wounds, to lift up narratives of hope and inspiration, and to build pathways to equity and leadership. Noted as New Mexico’s premiere, award-winning youth media project, Generation Justice was founded on social justice, decolonization, and media justice principles.  Generation Justice has a track record engaging with communities state-wide via KUNM radio broadcasts and the use of the internet to connect with individuals, schools and organizations. In addition to the high quality media that is produced, benefits of the broadband access work that Generation Justice does extends statewide, including to rural youth and families in New Mexico who pay the highest price for their lack of access.

“Generation Justice really understands how to engage young people,” said Everyday Democracy’s Executive Director Martha McCoy. “There is so much potential for the future of New Mexico because of their work.  This model should exist everywhere.”

“Generation Justice is what democracy looks, feels, and sounds like!” said Jaelyn deMaria of the University of New Mexico who nominated Generation Justice for this award.  She continues, “At their core is the sincere desire to present and give rise to a different type of narrative, one produced by those in the communities we come from.  Journalism schools teach a dominant culture lens and Generation Justice offers an alternative. Media influences beliefs, resulting in communities of color continuing to be represented in sensationalized and deceptive ways to a public that accepts those narratives as truth. This is the moment that youth of color and allies trained from a media justice lens are revolutionizing media to foster equity.”

In accepting the award, Roberta Rael, Founder and Director of Generation Justice said, “I’m so delighted that Generation Justice is receiving this recognition from Everyday Democracy, which has an amazing reputation and national reach.  The financial award is important, of course, but even beyond that, it is a deep honor to be seen and recognized for our work and approach to media justice.

“Our work looks at how media creates long term change – how structural racism has played a role in this issue – how the mainstream media is covering this issue – and, whose voices are not being heard.  We go out and get those voices and include them.

“This is one way dialogue and a racial equity lens is connected to everything we do,” she continued. “This award will assist in sustaining our mission, of empowering young people to harness the power of media, through a combination of developing their internal assets, and love for oneself and the community, using media as a powerful tool to both tell stories, capture stories, create dialogue and change the narrative.”

Families United for Education, of Albuquerque also attained honors as one of the four finalists for this award. Families United is a community/parent group noted for addressing discrimination and alienation of minorities and marginalized sectors of student population in the region. These two New Mexico organizations were honored along with Rapid City Community Conversations, Rapid City, South Dakota; Racial and Social Justice Program of the Delaware YWCA, Wilmington, Delaware.  Each of these organizations, is exemplary in the democracy-building work they are doing in their communities.  Additional Honorees were:  S. Nadia Hussain, of Bloomingdale, New Jersey; and the West Virginia Center for Civic Life. Two organizations were honored as Promising Practices: Speaking Down Barriers of Spartansburg South Carolina, and WOKE of Greyslake Illinois.
Paul J. Aicher and his wife Joyce were known for their generosity and creative genius. A discussion course at Penn State helped Paul find his own voice in civic life early on, and sparked his lifelong interest in helping others find theirs. Paul founded the Topsfield Foundation and the Study Circles Resource Center, now called Everyday Democracy, in 1989.  The organization has now worked with more than 600 communities throughout the country, helping bring together diverse people to understand and make progress on difficult issues, incorporating lessons learned into discussion guides and other resources, and offering training and resources to help develop the field and practice of deliberative democracy.

You can read the original version of this announcement on Everyday Democracy’s blog at

Exciting Updates from the Center for Public Deliberation

We want to lift up the work going on in our network and the incredible value it brings to improving dialogue and deliberation, public engagement and democracy. To show the value of both the work going on in our field and why we encourage you to support NCDD during our End-of-Year fund drive.

As part of the Fund Drive, we will be sharing the highlights from around the field every week and why we believe in this network’s vital work. That’s why we want to share these exciting updates from our NCDD Board Chair, Martín Carcasson, co-founder and director of the Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) at Colorado State University, and the talented CPD alumni.

Martín gave a “CivicEdTalk” keynote at the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (#CLDE17) meeting that took place in Baltimore, Maryland from June 7-10, 2017. The talk, which you can find here, is a condensed version of his NCDD bootcamp talk that some of you may be familiar with, tailored to the higher ed audience. He talks about how we engage communities to work to address the “wicked problems,” that he describes as “not bad people with wicked values, but the wickedness is in the problem and not the people.” By framing it this way, the situation shifts people from a less adversarial place to a more collaborative one. We recommend you check out his Facebook page called “the Wicked Problems Mindset,” for more information.

Martín has an upcoming online webinar with IAP2 called “Beginning with the Brain in Mind” on how to build public processes by taking human nature into consideration. Learn how to avoid the negative human tendencies like confirmation bias and selection exposure, and instead tap our positive aspects like creativity and empathy. The webinar is on December 12th at 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern and you can register for it by clicking here.

We also wanted to share some of the fantastic work his CPD colleagues and alumni have produced…

  • Kalie McMonagle, the new CPD Program Manager, released the report called, “Partnering for Inclusion: Recruitment strategies for deliberative conversations”, which focuses on how cross-sector partners gathered participants to engage in deliberative conversations.
  • Samantha Maldonado released the report, “Inclusion Around the Cycle: Applying strategies of sufficient inclusion throughout the cycle of deliberative inquiry”on being more inclusive before/during/after deliberative events.
  • Leah Sprain, former CPD Associate Director, released the report, “Citizens Speaking as Experts: Expertise discourse in deliberative forums”.

You can keep up with the CPD’s work at their website or on Facebook.

Keep an eye on the blog and NCDD’s social media this month (and always) for more great updates from the dialogue & deliberation field. Don’t forget to help NCDD and our network continue the important work of sharing the stories of the power of D&D, collaborating, and connecting to improve our work, by contributing to the NCDD End-of-Year Fund Drive!